If you decided to include variations of push-ups, described below, to your training program, you must have enough strength level of main working muscles and master the required technique, doing classic floor push-ups with different hands stand at least 20 times. There is nowhere to hurry, but if you have reached the required training level – I propose to move on to push-ups with arms and legs pillar.
Push-ups with arms pillar
To perform this variation of push-ups you will need some pillars for hands. It is not necessary to buy widely advertised push-up stands, you can use any similar 7 to 10 cm high objects (bent towel, book or brick). You can do push-ups between two chairs, but make sure that they will not slipper to different sides while you doing the exercise. In the last resort – try to do push-ups on your knuckles, instead of palms: this will give you necessary centimeters of depth to go down.
Performing the exercise: stand in the emphasis lying with your hands on pillars a little wider than shoulder-width (in the lower point your pre-shoulders should be perpendicular to the floor). Keep your legs together (photo 1). On inhale start to bend your arms in elbows, going down till your chest provisionally touches the top of pillars. Hold on for a second, feel the stretching load on chest and go back to the starting position (photo 2).
Notice: do not try to go down maximum deep (especially when doing push-ups on chairs) – instead of better work out you get microfractures of muscles. Yes, on the next day your chest will “burn”, but it will not be caused by started process of growth, but by the microinjuries that you got. The depth should be a couple centimeters bigger than classic push-ups. Do not forget to hold the whole body straight by tensing the back muscles and abdominals.
Push-ups with legs raised
To regulate the load on different muscles you can change not only position of hands but the tilt angle of your body. Remember the beginners push-up complex, we made it easier by doing push-ups in position when arms were way above the legs. To increase the load we should do other way round – gradually raise legs, using pillars of different heights. The higher the pillar – the more accent is moved to the shoulders. However, the risk of getting an injury also rises, so for the first times try to choose the height of pillar so that in top position your body was almost horizontal.
Performing the exercise: stand in the emphasis lying with your legs on a 50-60 cm pillar (photo 1). Bending your arms in elbows, on inhale go down until your nose touches the floor (photo 2).
Notice: when the body is horizontal your back gets additional load, so don’t let it bend. You may even stick up your pelvis a little (!) to move some part of the load to abdominals. After you can do 20 reps – complicate the exercise by putting your hands on pillars (like in push-ups on stands) or putting legs on an unstable pillar (like fitball). Do not try to eventually rise the height of leg pillar – the danger of getting an injury will be way higher than the possible training effect.
Having mastered those kinds of push-ups, you can differ your training process by including accented push-ups or three-point push-ups to your program.
Good books to read:
Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.
Paul Wade. Convict Conditioning 2: Advanced Prison Training Tactics for Muscle Gain, Fat Loss and Bulletproof Joints – Dragon Door Publications, 2012 – 340 p.
Pavel Tsatsouline. The Naked Warrior: Master the Secrets of the Super-strong, Using Bodyweight Exercises Only – Dragon Door Publications, 2004 – 218 p.